Adolescent pregnancy risk factors
According to youth.gov (n.d.), there are many risk factors to becoming pregnant as an adolescent; some examples are:
- Living in poverty
- Early sexual activity
- Use of alcohol and/or drugs
- Low self-esteem
Two resources (community/state)
- NJHelpshelps pregnant ladies see if they are “eligible for food assistance (SNAP), cash assistance (WFNJ/TANF or WFNJ/GA), and health Insurance (NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid)” (NJHelps.org, 2017). SNAP benefits can be used at supermarkets, farm markets and other stores that accept SNAP. Cash assistance can help pay housing costs, childcare and job preparations. Health insurance, depending on the person’s qualifications, may receive reduced or even free medical care.
- Project Teach is education for pregnant or parenting teens for them to get their high school diploma. Project teach is offered in six different counties in New Jersey and even if the mother is not in the county, they can be referred into a school. Along with obtaining their diploma, there is daycare offered automatically after the child is born from 6 weeks old to 2½ years old.
Teen pregnancy rates in the last 10 years (NJ & Burlington County) & reasons of increase/decrease
Teen birthrates in NJ have decreased over the past ten years. New Jersey is the sixth lowest in the 50 states although the whole population count may not be taken into consideration. In 2013 there were 10,160 total teen pregnancies, however, in 2018 there were only 2,814 which is greatly decreased; 2018 had 10.3 births per 1,000 pregnancies (Power to Decide, n.d.) In Burlington county, NJ, 3.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teenaged females between 2013 – 2017 (New Jersey State Health Assessment Data, 2019). Office on Women’s Health (2019) reports that there are decreases in pregnancy because less teens are engaging in sex and those that are, are using birth control.
Having a 14-year-old daughter, I am engaged in her life and talk to her openly about things she has questions with. She is not sexually active, but I talk to her about being safe and having healthy relationships with boy or men in her future. We joke around that she cannot kiss a boy that cannot afford to buy her a 3-carat diamond ring, so she’ll be able to date her future suitor for a long time. (ha ha)
- Department of Children and Families. (n.d.) Project teach. Retrieved from https://www.nj.gov/dcf/families/educational/teach/
- New Jersey State Health Assessment Data. (2019). Burlington County Public Health Profile Report. Retrieved from https://www-doh.state.nj.us/doh-shad/community/highlight/profile/AgeSpecBirthRate.Co1517/GeoCnty/3.html
Pregnancy during adolescents is always considered high risk. These mothers are more likely to give birth to babies with health concerns. The younger the teen mom the more likely there will be problems. Teen moms are twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby (Adolescent pregnancy, 2015). They are three times as likely to have a stillborn (Adolescent pregnancy, 2015). This a huge increase in the likelihood and very scary for any teen mom. Teen moms are much more likely to give birth before the baby is at term (Adolescent pregnancy, 2015).
Teen moms are more likely to abuse drugs, have poor nutrition, and have STDs (Sexually Transmitted Disease) (Adolescent pregnancy, 2015). Most teen pregnancies occur in low-income groups. Many teen moms have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. The SJRC (St. Jude’s Ranch for Children) is an organization in Texas that helps teen moms who are abused or neglected (Pregnant & parenting teen program, n.d.). They help these young women by meeting all their needs and providing education about pregnancy and infancy. They also provide safe shelter and therapy after the trauma many have gone through. Another helpful resource to teen moms in texas is WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Women Infants Children or WIC provides nutritional assistance, classes, and support groups for pregnancy and moms with young children (Special WIC procedures,n.d.).
Texas has the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the United States. In 2016 the teen pregnancy rate in Texas was 31 per 10,000 births versus 20 per1000 births in the United States (Office of adolescent health, 2019). In 1991 this number was 61 per 10,000 births which is a significant drop in teen pregnancy (Office of adolescent health, 2019). This drop could be to the wider availability of free birth control.
Klein, J. (2005). Adolescent pregnancy: Current trends and issues. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/1/281.full
Pregnant & parenting teen program. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sjrctexas.org/pregnant-parenting-teen-program/
Special WIC Procedures. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://texaswic.org/
Office of adolescent health. (2019). Texas adolescent reproductive health facts. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/facts-and-stats/national-and-state-data-sheets/adolescent-reproductive-health/texas/index.html